Alibi Networks

From today’s New York Times: Cellphones are usually used to help people keep track of each other and stay in easy contact. But they are also starting to take on quite a different function — helping users hide their whereabouts, create alibis and generally excuse their bad behavior. There is...

/ June 26, 2004

Distribution through innovation

The New York Times reported yesterday that Adam Kidron at Urban Box Office has figured out an innovative way to create alternative retail channels for Latino hip-hop, dance and rock bands. Kidron is making use of bodegas, the seemingly ubiquitous corner stores that populate many New York City neighborhoods, as...

/ May 20, 2004

Behavioral Targeting Bolsters Brands

From today’s research brief released by the Center for Media Research: Online research conducted by Dynamic Logic with Snapple, for The Internet For Women, iVillage and TACODA Systems, showed that targeting female consumers based on their previous site usage patterns, or behavior, has a greater impact on brand metrics than...

/ May 19, 2004

Van Helsing–Part 2

Second weekend take: $20 million. A 60% drop. Enough said. Read More

/ May 17, 2004

Van Helsing

Something in my gut is telling me to stay away from Van Helsing. It opened at $54 million last weekend and got a decent trade review. After the horror and occult fans check it out on G.P., the special effects cognoscenti take a look at all the CGI, and hardcore...

/ May 14, 2004

The guerrilla marketing of political activism

On my way to the barbershop, a guerrilla campaign caught my eye. On the ground someone wrote: “Who can you call in these states?” It was followed by a list of all the swing states for the upcoming elections and closed with the URL for the League of Independent Voters....

/ May 13, 2004

Collaborate or Die

That was the message coming out of the VNU-sponsored conference “The Future of Branded Entertainment” last Friday in New York. The point was made that the scale of what’s being attempted with these new branded entertainment models (Chrysler’s foray into videogames, and the recently-shut down Purina deal are two examples)...

/ May 13, 2004

Just because you can, does it mean you should?

In its May 6, 2004 edition, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece on Sony’s soon-to-be-released portable gaming machine, the PlayStation Portable (PSP). It will play videogames, movies and digital music. Could it be the “Walkman of the 21st Century” as some have called it? Nintendo’s Gameboy is the market...

/ May 6, 2004

Benefits vs. Features

The benefit of TiVo, as originally communicated, was that consumers would never have to miss their favorite TV shows because this programmable device could record 140 hours of programming.  Guess what?  Everybody except those early adopters said, “I’ve already got a VCR.”  Even though VCRs are famously difficult to program,...

/ April 28, 2004

“Roots” too racy for TV today?

Janet Jackson. Howard Stern. And “Roots”? Yes, it’s possible that the TV miniseries of the 1970s could be flagged for indecency if it ran today, because it shows “topless African American women and childbirth in its opening scenes,” according to an item in this week's Television Week. Hopefully, this tide...

/ April 23, 2004

Wrong Skin Color + Average Record = Disappointing Sales

A recent story in the New York Daily News talks about the difficulty that singer Kelis has had in cracking the rock barrier. That is, listeners still don’t consider her a “rock” artist, even though she has many rock influences that show up in her music. I will not dismiss...

/ April 23, 2004

Welcome to The Spark!

The Spark explores the sometimes nutty, but always fascinating, relationship between Marketing, Brand-Building and Pop Culture. What happens when marketing plans, ideas and efforts meet the fluid reality of pop culture? Popular culture is the marketplace where consumers collectively manifest needs, desires, likes and dislikes. And, yes, figuring it all...

/ April 23, 2004